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Injured reptiles on the increase

Friday, 4th January, 2013

Six-year-old Ciara O’Neill, with brother James (4), cradles an injured shingleback lizard that is being cared for by RRANA. Six-year-old Ciara O’Neill, with brother James (4), cradles an injured shingleback lizard that is being cared for by RRANA.

By Erica Visser

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals (RRANA) is caring for a large numbers of injured reptiles, and more bearded dragons than they had seen before.

The reptile breeding season was during September and October but RRANA Publicity Officer Lindy Hunt said that it was still dealing with an influx of injured lizards.

“I’ve still got a lot of the lizards that I’ve had in care during that time. A lot are still in care getting over their injuries,” she said.

Ms Hunt said that some lizards, such as those that have been hit by cars or mauled by other animals, take almost a year to recover from their injuries.

She said that RRANA had dealt with many more injured reptiles than this time last year, which she put down to increased rainfall.

“There’s definitely a lot more reptiles this year to date. The thing I have found interesting it that there are a lot more bearded dragons,” Ms Hunt said.

“I think one of the reasons could be that last year and the year before were very good breeding seasons in terms of how much food was available.

“The lizards that are coming in late are a lot skinnier, which suggests that it’s drier in the bush with not as much food around, but they cope very well.”

Ms Hunt reminded people that if they find an injured lizard it is illegal to keep it.

“We’ve had an increase of reports of people keeping wildlife illegally,” she said,

“We urge people if they find injured wildlife to contact RRANA immediately and if we hear about any illegally kept wildlife we are obliged to report it to National Parks.”

However, if someone finds a lizard in their yard they are encouraged to use common sense.

“If people do have a shingleback or bearded dragon in their yard the main thing is to keep pets away from it, because sometimes people don’t realise that the lizard could have been there for many years.

“A lot of lizards mate for life so removing them would mean separating them from their partner.

“We just ask people to use their common sense and be cautious.”

Ms Hunt said that as the weather heats up, people living on the outskirts of town may find more wildlife in their yards. 

“It is drying out more out bush so people living on the outskirts of town might find kangaroos and emus. 

“I would just remind people that these animals are protected and urge people to have proper fencing to stop pets from getting loose.”

RRANA may be contacted on 0429 204 416.

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